Leading civil society organizations focusing on judicial reforms have come up with an action plan to create a truly independent judicial system in Ukraine. The four main requirements for judicial independence are reflected in the Judicial Reform Roadmap.
Last year, the Parliament passed a draft law on the judicial reform drafted by president Zelenskyy. However, the law did not lead to any meaningful change: first, the reform was blocked by the High Council of Justice, and then in March, its main provisions were abolished by the Constitutional Court.
Now, the judiciary is lacking about 2,500 judges, and the agency which is supposed to recruit them, the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ), is effectively absent. Old problems have not merely disappeared either: there are still 44 judges of questionable integrity on the Supreme Court, Kyiv Administrative Court is an endless source of corruption scandals, the Constitutional Court shuts the lid on structural reforms, dishonest judges successfully pass the qualification test, while honest ones face extreme pressure.
Because of this only 13% of Ukrainians trust courts in Ukraine. After the reform was blocked, neither the Presidential Office, nor the Servant of the People faction proposed a comprehensive plan to overcome the crisis.
Civil society organizations DEJURE Foundation, Anti-Corruption Action Center, Automaidan, Center of Policy and Legal Reform, and Transparency International Ukraine have defined four key requirements which are needed to establish independent judiciary in Ukraine:
- Renewed HCJ and HQCJ.
- Screening and renewal of courts.
- New quality of administrative courts.
- Renewed Constitutional Court.
Read more in the Judicial Reform Roadmap.
Now, the judiciary is lacking about 2,500 judges, and the agency which is supposed to recruit them, the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ), is effectively absent.